Thursday, May 2, 2024

Spain's Camino Primitivo Day 8: A Fonsagrado to O'Cadavo


Wednesday, March 27th started out with a great breakfast!  Unfortunately, despite now finding Almond Milk - maybe I just had to learn how to look for it in Spain - I would have to leave half of the container at each albergue because I could not (or would not) haul it.  I hope someone found it in the refrigerator and used it!

Outside was threatening and still cold, as you can see from this photo taken looking back at A Fonsagrada about 50 minutes/2 miles into our day's journey.  There weren't a lot of photos taken this day, as it was cold and spitting for a good portion of the day.  You can see A Fonsagrada on top of the hill to the right in the photo.  Larger municipalities seemed often to be sited at the top of hills - no doubt for security hundreds of years ago.  

We were starting to come out of the mountains on this day's journey.  While we still had some good climbs, the ridges seemed less frequent than in earlier days.  When we left main roads, we sometimes found ourselves on routes that appeared to be very old.  An example is the shot below.  I would not be surprised if this part of the journey was over a route that is hundreds of years old!

The day overall was wet, grey, cold and lonely.  But I had the right layering, and was never cold.  There is an old adage, "there is no such thing as a bad hiking day, only bad equipment."

At the top of our highest point for the day, 5.4 miles into our day's journey, we reached the ruins of the "royal hospital of Santiago de Montouto" - the site of a midieval hostel dating back to 1357 (though likely originally at another location).  Here, we encountered Alex from Germany, having a snack break.  It was the only place he could get protection from the wind, he explained.

The route then dropped down to a small town where a camino restaurant was not yet open for the year.  We took advantage of the porch to have our own lunch, and the thermometer on a post there read 3 degrees C.  Combined with the wind, the next mile or so was the coldest of my entire journey, though the views were very pretty.

It seemed like the route in Galicia was better for pilgrims than it had been in Asturias.  Earlier, we would have walked on the road in the scene below, but now there was a separate area for pilgrims.

The last few miles into O'Cadavo provided me probably the most remote photo of my entire journey.  We walked this entire road, and it seemed to go on forever!  The town we stayed the night was a short distance past the ridge in the horizon, however.

We spent the night in a private albergue called "Porta Santa" that night in O'Cadavo - a municipality with about 1600 residents.  Although we arrived before 2 PM, I was pretty sedentary for the rest of the afternoon.  It rained hard while we were inside the albergue, and I went out only to get some food at the grocery store.  The albergue was warm, and I was happy reading my book in bed.

New that night was Elizabetta, a PhD student from Italy.  She had started that day and been threatened by a dog on her journey, which had her reconsidering whether to continue.  We convinced her to join us, and when a dog was near, I gave her one of my hiking sticks for protection.  Dogs weren't a real issue for me - I think I know which one might have scared her - I saw very few that were aggressive.  But if you are scared of dogs already, I can see how being alone on this camino route could be terrifying.  

Day 8 Camino stats: 
Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Distance: 15.7 miles (0.7 miles less than the previous day)  
Time: 6 hours, 1 minute
Start time: 7:41 AM
End time: 1:42 PM
Total daily steps: 41,584 steps 

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